If you were recently in an accident or otherwise suffered an injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, you are probably overwhelmed with worries and questions. Below we have provided answers to a few questions we are frequently asked.
How much is your case worth?
Often one of the first questions we are asked by someone who has been injured in an accident is, “What is my case worth?” The only way to offer a valid answer on this subject is to investigate the facts, review medical records and bills, find out if the client has permanent injuries, and check to see how much insurance is available. Only at that point can a reasonable estimate be made, and even then, assessing the relative value of a case is imprecise at best. The value of a case should only be determined after:
- the client has finished medical treatment
- all medical records have been reviewed
- all medical bills have been obtained
- all wage loss information has been received
- the treating physician has been consulted to see if the client’s injuries are permanent
- the facts surrounding the accident have been completely investigated to make sure someone else is responsible (negligent)
- the source of collection is determined
We understand it’s tough being the victim of a personal injury when another person was careless in his actions. It’s even worse when you don’t understand the legal process of getting your claim resolved. However, there are some general guidelines to help you in this process. In order to be compensated, the following must be established: liability, damages, and a source of collection.
- Liability - fault (Did the other person’s careless behavior or negligence cause the accident?)
- Damages - generally, there are three types of damages:
· Economic losses to date: past expenses for medical care and lost wages
· Future economic losses: expenses for future medical care and future loss of income
· Past and future pain and suffering for the physical and mental anguish experienced: compensation for pain, permanent disability, or disfigurement—it is the most difficult to prove
- Many insurance companies use a mathematical formula to figure how much should be paid. For instance, often adjustors multiply the past economic losses by 1.5 or 2 when the injuries are relatively minor and by 3 to 5 when the injuries are more severe.
- Source of collection - usually the other person’s insurance company (In California accidents, if the other person doesn’t have insurance or the insurance is inadequate, the source of collection may be the injured person’s own insurance company.)
How do we evaluate your case?
When the time is right, we prepare a Demand Brochure that clearly demonstrates what you have gone through. The Demand Brochure is an extensive document that discusses in detail the facts of your case, liability issues, injuries, treatment, future prognosis, and our evaluation of these issues.
Once the Demand Brochure is completed, we go over it in detail with you. We discuss all the options available, ranging from settling with the insurance company to going to trial. We make sure you know what your choices are and the consequences associated with each. We discuss what similar cases have been settled for and what we believe the settlement verdict range of your case is.
After reviewing all pertinent information with you, and after gaining your authority, we send the Demand Brochure to the negligent party’s insurance company. We then negotiate with the insurance company until we receive a settlement offer. After each offer is received, we talk with you and let you know how much money you will net (in your pocket) so you will have a chance to fairly evaluate your options.
This process continues until the insurance company submits what we believe is their best and final settlement offer. If you accept this final offer, money from your settlement is usually in your hands in 30 days. If you decide you don’t want to settle, you can let a jury decide the value of your case.
What can you do to help me?
Many people who have suffered a personal injury are too scared, intimidated, guilt-ridden, or otherwise reluctant to seek the professional help they need. Some have had bad experiences with other lawyers. Some have already been intimidated by the company they’ve been dealing with. And some simply believe that it is wrong to bring a claim for personal injuries.
MLF Injury Lawyers would like to offer you, absolutely free of charge, an initial consultation for your case. It’s a chance for us to evaluate your claim and a chance for you to evaluate us. We’ll talk about your injuries, legal rights, and any other questions you may have. We’ll also answer any questions you have about our legal experience, including cases that we have tried before juries. During this interview, we hope to:
- find a way to get you compensated for your injuries
- find out if the insurance company you are up against is withholding benefits you are entitled to or pressuring you to make a quick settlement
- see if you’ve been exposed to risks you may not know exist
We understand that this can be a difficult time, but waiting any longer for an answer to your questions may only cause more stress and concern. Our goal, above all, is to create a forum where you will feel comfortable talking with a professional about your legal options; only when you are in a situation where there is no pressure will you be able to make the decision that is best for you.
The case evaluation is free and, if you decide to hire one of MLF’s personal injury lawyers, you also pay no hourly fees. We only get paid when we collect money for our clients. Thus, we have an incentive to devote ourselves to your case and fight for your rights to receive the kind of compensation you deserve.
After the complimentary consultation you are still free to hire someone else. At least you will have the benefit of evaluating all of the relevant information and having your questions answered before you make that important decision.